Most of these books are fiction, simply because that is my own great love, but I have decided to widen the scope of my list to include essays, poems, and non-fiction works as well. So please, help me! What should I be reading?
Five Go to Treasure Island – Enid Blyton
When I was a kid growing up, my sister and I wanted to be just like George – strong, fearless, truthful and just as good as a boy. There were not that many heroines like George all the way back then.
My favourite L.M. Montgomery book, I loved it because the heroine wanted to be a writer. She was clever and determined and did not want to marry if it was going to stand in the way of her ambition.
I also love Anne of Green Gables, of course, and one of her lesser-known books, The Blue Castle, also has to be included on my list
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
I loved the character of Jo so much. She seemed just like me – untidy, dreamy, and always scribbling away at a story. I also love Eight Cousins!
The Mists of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley
This was the first fantasy book I ever read where it was the woman’s tale that was the focus. A touchstone book for me.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Bronte
A powerful novel about domestic abuse in 19th century England, with a heartbreaking denouement.
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Still one of my all-time favourite books – I try and re-read it every few years.
The Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
The story of ‘Jane Eyre’ retold from the point of view of the mad wife in the attic. So clever!
Persuasion – Jane Austen
My favourite Jane Austen novel – the story of a young woman learning to speak out for herself. I would also include all of Jane Austen's other books, including - of course - Pride & Prejudice.
The Awakening - Kate Chopin
A Room of Her Own – Virginia Woolf
I carry this book in my heart. It had a profound influence on me and my determination to shape my own life.
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
A heart-rending memoir of the poet’s life.
Stravinsky’s Lunch – Drusilla Modjeska
A fascinating book on the lives of women’s artists.
Women Who Run with the Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
My favourite book by Margaret Atwood, this tells the story of a young woman accused of murder.
Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver
Such a beautiful and wise book.
Remarkable Creatures – Tracy Chevalier
The story of Mary Anning, the young woman who discovered dinosaur fossils at Lyme Regis.
Possession – A.S. Byatt
The story of a love affair between Victorian poets.